Harman Patil (Editor)

Bonnie Springs Ranch

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Opened  1958
Website  [3]
Bonnie Springs Ranch

Location  Blue Diamond, Red Rock Canyon, Clark County, Nevada, United States

Bonnie Springs Ranch is a western-themed amusement park near Blue Diamond, in Clark County, southern Nevada.

Contents

It is located in the Mojave Desert, below the Spring Mountains in the Red Rock Canyon area. The ranch has natural oasis habitat, from the spring water surfacing here.

The present day Bonnie Springs Ranch features include: horseback riding, a zoo, the "Old Nevada" western town, a miniature train, a 46-room motel, and a restaurant.

19th century

The springs were within the Paiute peoples homeland for centuries. They moved their dwellings into small enclaves in the rocky cliffs to the west after immigrants took their land.

The ranch at the natural springs was first established in 1843, as a watering stopover for wagon trains going to California on the Old Spanish Trail. In 1846, General John C. Frémont, on his way to Alta California, stopped at the springs to prepare for the trip through Death Valley to the Pueblo de Los Angeles

20th century

In 1952, Bonnie McGaugh (July 30, 1921–January 29, 2016) purchased 115 acres of land in Red Rock Canyon, 20 miles west of Las Vegas. The property consisted of a broken-down bar and a three-room house. McGaugh re-opened the bar and operated it without electricity for 12 years.

In 1954, Bonnie McGaugh married Al Levinson (1924–1994). In 1958, they opened Bonnie Springs Ranch to the public. A stable was added in 1963.

A restaurant was opened in 1964. The bar/restaurant is known for a collection of neckties that hang from the ceiling, with dollar bills pinned to them. Al Levinson had decided on a policy against ties in the restaurant after he had been turned away from a restaurant at the Desert Inn casino for wearing a bolo tie. From that point on, he would take each tie that came into his restaurant and pinned it to the ceiling. People later started pinning money to the ties. On September 12, 2001, the money from the ceiling — a total of $18,744 — was donated to the Blue Diamond Volunteer Fire Department.

In 1972, construction began on Old Nevada, the name given to a series of buildings replicating an 1880s mining town. The buildings are made of weathered wood. Old Nevada opened in 1974, and includes a wedding chapel, souvenir shops, a wax museum, a western-style saloon, a small schoolhouse, and staged gun fights.

In 1989, a 50-room motel was added. The Levinsons' children, Alan Levinson and April Hopper, took over the ranch's operations in 1994, after the death of their father.

Zoo

After someone dropped off a sheep at the property, two deer showed up. McGaugh then adopted a wolf, later took in two miniature goats from Wayne Newton, and then got the idea to open a zoo on the ranch.

The zoo was built in the early 1960s, and now includes emus, wolves, and the non-native Canadian lynx. Peacocks and deer freely roam the fenced zoo area. The ranch also features a large stable of horses.

Paranormal

The ranch has been speculated to be haunted, as claimed by some visitors to the ranch. Some guests have witnessed seeing an apparition of a little girl in the schoolhouse, and also witnessed the merry-go-round spinning on its own on a windless, dry day. In the wax museum, voices can be heard and the wax figures sometimes move on their own. They also look like they are breathing. Due to this, the managers have had to nail down the wax figures to keep the display from being mixed up. In the opera house, people have witnessed a shadow figure following them around in the room, and a guest took a picture and reportedly captured a black mass standing next to him.

In October 2008, the ranch was temporarily named "Bonnie Screams" in celebration of Halloween, a tradition which continues each October, and includes haunted houses.

The motel was briefly featured in the 2005 film Domino.

The ranch was featured on Ghost Adventures during the fourth season, where they were able to catch some evidence, including a voice in the wax museum and a shadow figure in the opera house.

References

Bonnie Springs Ranch Wikipedia